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The Sign Of Four

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The Sign Of Four


Published 1932


From IMDb:
A young woman turns to Sherlock Holmes for protection when she's menaced by an escaped killer seeking missing treasure. However, when the woman is kidnapped, Holmes and Watson must penetrate the city's criminal underworld to find her.


Audio/Visual sound, b&w

comment
Reviews

Reviewer: nanopossum - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 13, 2014
Subject: Good effort
First let me deal with some inconsistencies ... Jonathan Small doesn't look a day older since he was betrayed by the guards, while Sholto looks 20 yrs older or more (as he should). Hard-labor in Andaman Islands agreed with Small!

The elder Sholto is made out to be the biggest cad, worse than his partner, "a murderer," yet in the fight a the temple it is the other officer, the girl's father, who initiates the fight by holding a metal hook threateningly.

That out of the way, in the book Sholto's son Thaddeus, is more of an exotic character, timid yes, nervous yes, but fascinated by the Far East culture and quite peculiar. I'm assuming here they wanted the character to be comedic, and they thought if they made him more mysterious it would
complicate matters. And it probably would have.

My biggest quibble is they dare to sugar-coat the ending of the story. An act of sacrilege there!

The 2 crooks made magic in their scenes together. Funny to this day, at least to me, and someone, such as me, who has suffered thru many comic relief moments from these old films knows how uncommon it is for the humor to hold up. The key: cleverness never gets old. Curious one actor has only one leg, Graham Soutten, and the other, Roy Emerton, has only one eye! For real! How's that for realism. Emerton seems to have died rather suddenly in 1944 seeing as he was making movies that year ...

It's perplexing to me people in those days experienced fits of laughter anytime a drunkard stumbled in and slurred his words, for example. Instant laughs in the old days. None of that with these two. Actually it is Holmes pretending to be drunk in a scene. To gather information. If it was played for laughs, I don't know.

About any distinctive camera - work .. couple times they filmed scenes from above, the dock scene and the fights stick in my mind and how that was filmed, I dunno, from 30 feet above? And earlier they shot from the attic down into the room below to show the trajectory of a poisoned dart. That was good. Another time they filmed Small being shaved by his buddy, and they filmed it at an extreme angle from below his chin. That was good, as well.

I'm ok with the Holmes. Holmes was not supposed to be Spiderman, comic superhero, which is what popular movies today make him. Sure they can make him whatever they want! But it's not the original Holmes and that's what *I* want.

If I had to find fault with the Holmes character in this film I would say Wortner plays him a little too friendly to be authentic. Holmes was not charming all the time. He could be charming, if he wanted to be or had to be, but by nature he was rather cold fish.
Reviewer: Shadows_Girl - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 11, 2010
Subject: As I Have Said Before
Arthur Wontner gives us Sherlock Holmes as Doyle wrote him. If you people could read you would know that Holmes doesn't have "pizz-azz" and, in fact, isn't actually very likeable.

Film and radio interpretations have clearly confused a good many people but if you want to see the Sherlock Holmes of Conan Doyle's stories----these are the films you watch.
Reviewer: Atemi Cast - favoritefavoritefavorite - August 16, 2010
Subject: The Sign of Four
Not bad for late night viewing. The Holmes part is a little hard to believe; his explanations just did not make much sense. The film is fun especially the warehouse fight scene.
Reviewer: allanb - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 13, 2010
Subject: bit of cinema history
Arthur Wontner was known as the 'critics choice' of Sherlock Holmes, and may still be favourite at the Sherlock Holmes society, due to his remarkable resemblance to the original Sidney Padget drawings. Other character actors, looking remarkably young, also appear. Would love to see decent prints of these films, the negatives, if they still survive are probably rotting somewhere.
Reviewer: perlster - - August 5, 2009
Subject: poor sound quality
The constant static is more than a little annoying. If anyone can clean it up or has a better copy, it would be great to replace this one.
Reviewer: Aitchondo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 6, 2009
Subject: Worth a watch.
Actually, I thought the guy playing Holmes was pretty good, the acting in general was good, I liked the guy playing Jonathan Small (peg leg guy) and the story was close to the book. I agree that the fight scene at the end (slapstick funny in a way) was worth the wait.
Reviewer: malary - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 6, 2009
Subject: Nice
Pretty well-acted movie. I agree with the reviewer below; the guy playing Sherlock is very good, but not quite good enough. If you like mysteries, don't miss this one. Oh, and the fight scene at the end is hilarious!!! I added another star just for that.
Reviewer: jimelena - favoritefavoritefavorite - June 6, 2007
Subject: Pre Rathbone and Bruce
Good story and production, worth a down load.
But i like Basil and Nigel better.
Reviewer: surfvh - favoritefavoritefavorite - March 28, 2007
Subject: Not Basil Rathbone, but not bad
This film follows A. Conan Doyle's story fairly closely and is fairly well acted. It's only real problem is the guy playing Sherlock Holmes doesn't have enough pizazz to realy pull it off. Still, it's quite entertaining, though not as riveting as the more modern ones, but still a good way to kick back with some movie snacks and your favorite beverage for an hour or so.
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